“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wants to follow me, he must deny himself, pick up his cross, and follow me.”
Sometimes I wonder in my heart of hearts if I truly did deny myself and follow Him in all the situations He placed before me? When I meet my Savior face to face, I believe my life is going to flash before my eyes and the most important question on my mind will be, “Have I done what He has called me to do or has self gotten in the way?” Did I let the world set my agenda or did I truly lay down my life and give it to the Lord? Were there times I put the cross down because it became too heavy?
The busyness of life has a way of desensitizing our souls to the needs of others. We are so busy running to and fro, we do see others who are hurting and might need a helping hand. I will use a scenario from my childhood to bring home this point.
My hometown is New Orleans, Louisiana. Anyone who has ever walked the streets of downtown know that there are beggars everywhere. One day when I went shopping with my mom, we passed a man who had no legs. He was sitting on a palette that had wheels and he was selling pencils. I could not believe my eyes and thought it would be engraved on my mind forever. How can a person live like that? How did he become so destitute? What really blew my mind was that he was smiling! I was so upset when my Mom did not stop and buy a pencil! “How can you just pass him by, I asked?” Her reply was, “Sandy we are in a hurry and need to get home.” I fussed so much that as we were returning to the car, she gave me the money to buy one. His reply was, “God Bless you!”
Well, many years later, I was working in downtown New Orleans and the beggars were still there selling pencils. At first, I bought a pencil every day, than on Fridays, and then not at all. Once again the busyness of life had desensitized my soul. I was so consumed with self and what I wanted to do, I did not see the needs of others. I was definitely in my comfort zone and wanted to stay there. I had the world by the tail and I was going to give it a spin or two, or at least I thought I was!
With each passing year I kept reaching and reaching for that brass ring on the carousel until the day came when I reached too far and fell off. That was the day when I finally reached the end of self. I realized that self was a piranha that never could be satisfied. If self was the answer, why was I so miserable? I finally realized I had been searching in the wrong places and looking for the wrong things.
One day the right person came along and introduced me to Jesus. The same Jesus that I thought was just a man in a book. Thank the Lord she was not too busy to speak to me. She showed me in Psalm 139:13 that He knitted me together in my mother’s womb and in Psalm 139:16 showed me where “all the days He ordained for me were written in His book before one of them came to be.” He knows the beginning from the end and all that lies between! His purpose for my life was much bigger than I had for myself! My plans were centered around me; His plans for me were centered around others. When I let Him intertwine my life with others, it became a circle that could not be broken!
When I stand before my Savior face to face, the LAST words I want to hear are: “You did not do what I sent you to do. You did not feed the hungry or the poor. You did not take the time to speak to someone who was hurting. You were so busy, you did not even notice all the needs of your family. All I wanted you to do was tell others about me when they were hurting. All I wanted was for you to let me use your hands and feet to further my Kingdom, but no, you were too busy. I kept having to send someone else! May those words never be! I want Him to cup my face in His hands, look in my eyes and say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”